The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:1,2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The Word of God teaches us to die to self, but on the other hand the world teaches us to build up self. It’s self image, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-assurance, self-realization, self-actualization, all of which lead to self-centeredness, i.e. life in the flesh.
Now, here are the characteristics of self-centered people: I won’t write any that apply to me. (Ha, Ha!) They are angry, bigoted, blame others, they can’t receive compliments, and they are compulsive. They are controlled by their emotions, they are controlled by others, they are critical, defensive, falsely humble, they gossip, and they are greedy.
They are full of guilt, they are harsh, and hate themselves. They hold grudges; they are hyper-sensitive, impatient, impulsive, inadequate, indifferent, inferior, inhibited, insecure, insensitive, intolerant, introspective, jealous, and judgmental. They lack compassion, love, moderation, and self-control.
They don’t have any trust, they want power, they manipulate, they are opinionated, and overbearing. They like to play God, they won’t listen, they are proud, they rebel, they are resentful, self-absorbed, self-centered, self-motivated, self-indulgent, and self righteous.
They are quick to speak, slow to hear, sensitive to criticism, undisciplined, unemotional, unsympathetic, and unteachable. And whenever they read a list like this, they think of everyone they know that ought to read it.
Self-centeredness is ugly, and as one of my friends recently said: it’s like having bad breathe, stinky feet, and body odor. It may not bother you, but it is knocking the rest of us out.
This is why Jesus wants us to die to self so that we can be under the Spirit’s control in this world. We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy a quiet spiritual retreat. We are here to have the full realization of Christ for the purpose of building His body.
As Christians we are surely in this world, but we are no longer of this world. Our citizenship is now in heaven and we are to be ambassadors for the kingdom of God as though God were making His appeal in and through us. A child of God is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but towards Christ-realization. Scripture tells us that we died and that our life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3).
I heard a wise man once say that the people of this world are trying to live a life they do not have substituting religion for God, but then he said on the other hand there are others in this world who are not of this world who have a life they never live! This is the mystery of our faith revealed, Christ in you the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Are you concerned about Christ realization in your life or only concerned about self-realization?
Our Lord’s teaching is anti self-realization. His plan is to live His life in and through us, and the Son of God is characterized by self-expenditure. The nature of self-realization, on the other hand, leads one to say I am my own God. So, Christ-realization is the only hope of glory.
LIFE LESSON: Offer God your body as a living sacrifice, allowing Him to live His life in and through you, by the renewing of your mind. And remember, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
We appreciate your continued prayer and financial support. We need both to meet the ministry obligations. Thank you for your faithfulness.